Reformed Presbyterian Church
of North America
Submitted by Shawn Reed and Denny Prutow
at Sterling Retreat, December 28, 1991
Edited by Executive Committee March 4, 2006
Approved by the CY, Covenant Heights July 2006
Amended by the CY, Horn Creek July 23, 2010
Amended by the CY, Sterling Retreat January 2, 2021
Section 1: Name
The name of this organization shall be The Covenanter Youth (C.Y.) of the Midwest Presbytery of the Reformed Church of North America.
Section 1: Object
The object of the Covenanter Youth in the Presbytery is to inspire as many young people as possible to a deep loyalty to Christ and the church in fellowship through conferences, psalm sings, and other presbyterial activities. It will include creating and maintaining within itself an interest in: the teachings of the Bible, the views of the church, and the needs of one another.
Section 1: Membership
- Presbytery C.Y. shall be composed of high school and college youth aged 14-24 that are at least baptized members of Midwest Presbytery Reformed Presbyterian churches.
- In order for youth to be considered members of the CY body with the ability to act on business matters, they must have attended one youth retreat in the last year.
Section 1: Officers
- The officers of the Presbytery C.Y. shall be: President, Vice President, Secretary/Registrar, Treasurer, Assistant Camp Manager, and Recreation Director.
- The Executive Committee shall be composed of these officers, and shall work under the supervision of the Presbytery Youth Sponsor.
Section 2: Duties of Officers
- The duties of the officers of the Presbytery C.Y. shall be as such as usually pertain to their respective offices. At meetings of Presbytery C.Y. they shall have the direction of, and responsibility for, the meetings and the program presented there. The President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall each make an annual report and other such reports as the Executive Committee may require.
- The Executive Committee shall have charge of arranging for all meetings of the Presbytery C.Y., and shall attend to all business requiring the attention between meetings.
Section 3: Election
The officers of the Presbytery C.Y. shall be elected for a two western conference term. The officers will be elected on a rotating basis. Each year a Vice President will be elected, with the current President stepping down and current Vice President assuming the office of the President. Also, Treasurer and Recreation Director or Secretary and Manager will be elected each year. Past officers may not be re-elected to allow others the opportunity to assume responsibility.
Section 1: Retreats
The Presbytery C.Y. shall hold quarterly retreats and assist in the management of the annual presbytery family conference.
Section 2: Annual Business Meeting
An annual business meeting shall be held during the western conference. An annual planning meeting will be held at the winter retreat.
Section 3: Other Meetings
Other meetings may be held at the call of the Executive Committee.
Section 4: Executive Committee Meetings
The Executive Committee may meet at any time, on the call of the President and one or more of the other officers.
Section 1: Amendments
If at some time in the future changes need be made to this constitution, amendments may be submitted by any member to the executive committee. If the executive committee deems the Amendment necessary and unanimously agrees to it, it should be presented to all the members at the annual business meeting. There, if it is upheld by a two-thirds majority, it will be added to this constitution.
Section 2: By-Laws
If it is found necessary that the By-laws need changed, then they may be edited by the Executive Committee as needed. This new document must be agreed upon unanimously by the Executive Committee and then submitted to the members at the annual business meeting. There, if the changes are upheld by a two-thirds majority, the edited By-laws will replace the old ones.
Election of Officers
The election of officers shall be by ballot, following nominations by Sessions. Those nominated must be a junior in high school or above and a communicant member of a Midwest Presbytery Reformed Presbyterian Church.
- The committees shall be appointed by the Executive Committee or the President.
- Committees appointed by the Executive Committee shall report at the annual meeting or special meetings.
- The registration fees shall be fixed by the Executive Committee in coordination with the host church representative.
- The program for the retreats shall be approved by the Executive Committee.
Rules of Order
The rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the Presbytery C.Y. in all cases to which they are applicable, and in which they are not inconsistent with this Constitution and its By-Laws.
Officers and Members and their Respective Duties
- To acquire a working knowledge of parliamentary law and procedure and a thorough understanding of the constitution, by-laws, and standing rules of the organization.
- Always to appear at the meeting a few minutes before it is scheduled to begin.
- To have on hand a list of committees for a guide in naming new appointments.
- To preside and maintain order.
- To explain and decide all questions of order.
- To announce all business.
- To be informed on communications.
- To entertain only one main motion at a time and state all motions properly.
- To permit none to debate motions before they are seconded and stated; to encourage debate and assign the floor to those properly entitled to it. (No member may speak twice on the same question if there are others who wish to claim the floor.)
- To put all motions to vote and give result; to decide a tie vote or not to vote at all; to abstain from voting, if wiser.
- To stand while stating the question and taking the vote.
- To remain seated while discussion is taking place or reports are being given.
- To enforce the rules of decorum and discipline.
- To talk no more than necessary when presiding.
- To refrain from discussing a motion when presiding.
- To be absolutely fair and impartial.
- To extend every courtesy to the opponents of a motion even though the motion is one that the presiding officer favors.
- To give signature when necessary.
- To be ex officio of all committees, except the nominating committee if so prescribed in by-laws.
- To show appreciation to officers and chairmen of committees for devoted service.
- To perform such other duties as are prescribed in the by-laws.
- To debate motions before the house, if essential, but must surrender the Chair until the vote has been taken. The Vice President is asked to take the Chair until motion has been disposed of.
- To use “general consent”, which saves much time when routine matters are considered. Form: “If there is no objection, we will…” If there is an objection, he must take the vote.
- To preside during nominations and elections even if he is the candidate. When he is the sole nominee, merely out of a sense of delicacy, he permits the Vice President to put the question to a vote.
- In absence of the President, presides and performs the duties of president. If a Vice President is not willing to perform the duties of the President during his absence or when circumstances make it necessary to assume the presidency, the Vice President should resign from the office.
- To head an important committee or share in supervising a department, as outlined in the by-laws.
- To manage and complete “thank-you” notes from the CY to any and all individuals included in the planning and execution of a retreat. Consult with the appointed planning officers of said retreat. It is encouraged that the CY body sign the notes but is not required.
- To keep minutes of the meetings.
- To read minutes of previous meeting (preferably standing).
- To read important correspondence (or give the gist of it), if there is only one secretary.
- To record the proceedings (what is done), not the debate (what is said).
- To record the name of the member who introduced a motion. It is not necessary to record the seconder.
- To notify committees of their appointments and business.
- To take charge of all documents belonging to organization when requested.
- To call a meeting to order, in the absence of the President or Vice President, and to preside until the election of a chairman pro tem, which should take place immediately.
- To have a list of all officers, board members, and general membership.
- To notify all members of meetings.
- To conduct correspondence as directed.
- To work closely with Presbytery’s Treasurer in monitoring the balance of the CY account
- To keep bookkeeping records of the retreats, and to disperse the records to the officers
- To use funds to reimburse individuals as much as possible, and not to use cash funds directly from registration when it can be avoided.
(Reason: This allows for better tracking of expenses, and provides proof of payment.)
- When confronted by a special expense, generally one without a precedent (e.g. Website, subsidy for a particular retreat), obtain approval of the expense from all officers and the CY sponsor before sending the bill and description to Presbytery’s treasurer for reimbursement.
- To seek pre-authorization at the annual business meeting to pay for (through Presbytery’s Treasurer) annual-recurring costs.
(Reason: This avoids the need to contact all officers for authorization and speeds up the process of payment.)
- To give a financial report, at annual meeting. This should include registration income, speaker fees, and any other and expenses incurred during the retreats. Provide as much detail as possible.
- To give authorization to the officers and sponsor to disperse surpluses from retreat registrations as they see fit, given that the decision is unanimous.
- Assist the Camp Manager at the Western Conference.
- In the occasion the Western Conference needs to be relocated, the Asst. Camp Manager will assist the Camp Manager in searching for a new location fit for the Midwest Presbytery.
- Manage CY Instagram Account to serve as another reminder to the CY body for upcoming retreats and business.
- To be involved in the recreation at the retreats if necessary.
- To coordinate and plan recreation for the CY at the Western Conference.
- To work with the children and adult recreation director at the Western Conference.
- To manage the CY Facebook Page to serve as another reminder to the CY body for retreats and business.
- To obtain the floor before speaking.
- To stand when speaking, if convenient.
- To avoid speaking upon any matter until it is properly brought before the house by a motion.
- To keep upon the question then pending.
- To yield the floor to calls for order.
- To abstain from all personalities in debate.
- To avoid disturbing, in any way, speakers of the assembly.
- To offer any motion that is meaningful to the organization.
- To explain or discuss that motion, or any matter properly before the meeting.
- To call to order, if necessary (A point of order can interrupt a speaker. It is raised to ensure orderly procedure, particularly when there is a breach or violation of rules or by-laws, or when a member is not speaking on the motion before the house.)
- To hold the floor, when legally obtained, until through speaking.
- To appeal from the decision of the Chair to that of the assembly.
Standard Agenda for Regular Meetings
- Meeting called to order by the President (The meeting may be opened with prayer). Extend greetings.
- Minutes of previous meeting read by Secretary (Approved as read or corrected).
- Correspondence reported by Secretary (Motions arising out of correspondence may be taken up immediately or held over for new business).
- Report of Treasurer.
- Standing committees reports (enter all names to report), and general business that will be taken up.
- Special committee reports (same procedure).
- Special orders, if any.
- Unfinished business. Itemize.
- New business. Itemize.
- Controlled announcements, whenever convenient.
- The program (if there is one). This is part of the meeting. The program chairman or president presides (optional).
- Adjournment by the President.
Don'ts for the Presiding Officer
- Don’t fail to start the meeting on time (a quorum being present) – ten minutes grace may be allowed. If no quorum is present, start the meeting anyhow; the business will be held over until later when late arrivals make up the quorum. The membership will take note that meetings start on time and will respond accordingly.
- Don’t stand during debate or while a report is being given.
- Don’t take part in debate while you are in the Chair. If you must speak, turn the Chair over to the Vice President; do not return to the Chair until the vote has been taken.
- Don’t allow members to deal in personalities while debating.
- Don’t say “I think”, “I appoint”, “It’s my opinion”, etc., but say, “The Chair thinks”, “The Chair appoints”, “It is the opinion of the Chair”, etc.
- Don’t say, “You are out of order”, when you mean “The motion is out of order”.
- Don’t strike the gavel any harder than necessary to attract attention of the members. Standing very quietly may accomplish surprising results.
- Don’t lose your calmness, objectivity, or impartiality.
Don'ts for Members
- Don’t be late for the meeting. You may be needed to complete a quorum.
- Don’t sit in the rear. Leave the rear seats for the late ones.
- Don’t say, “I move you”. Omit the “you”.
- Don’t say, “I make a motion to…” say, “I move to…”
- Don’t wait to obtain the floor in order to second a motion.
- Don’t stand while another is speaking.
- Don’t fail to take part in the debate if you have a viewpoint to express, or want information or parliamentary assistance.
- Don’t claim the floor the second time if there are others who wish to speak the first time.
- Don’t be silent during the debate and then criticize after the meeting.
- Don’t speak on a motion while the vote is being counted or taken.
- Don’t address a woman chairman as “chairlady” – say “Madam Chairman”.
- Don’t carry on a conversation with your neighbor while someone is speaking.
- Don’t forget to notify the chairman of a committee of which you are a member if you cannot attend a committee.
- Don’t accept an office unless you are willing to assume the responsibilities of the office.
- Don’t use your knowledge of parliamentary law to hinder business by constantly raising points of order, and insisting upon the strict observance of every rule at a meeting in which the majority of the members have no knowledge of these rules.
- Don’t leave the meeting unless necessary, until the President declares the meeting adjourned. You may be needed for the quorum, or something very important may come up at the last moment.
Goals for the C.Y. of the Midwest Presbytery
Purpose of the Organization:
The purpose of the C.Y. in the presbytery is to encourage growth in the Lord and fellowship with other believers through conferences, psalm sings, and other presbyterial activities. It will also provide accountability to youth in local churches as they work to share the Gospel with the youth in their area.
The purpose of the C.Y. in the local congregation is to inspire as many people as possible, both younger and older, to a deep loyalty to both Christ and the church. It will also provide accountability to individual members of the C.Y. as we as youth strive to develop closer relationships with the Lord.
Goals of the Organization:
- To make one retreat every year accessible to each region of the presbytery youth.
- To impact the spiritual lives of the youth through deeper fellowship with Christ and the church.
- To correspond with the sessions after each retreat for a report on the impact of the retreat in the youth’s lives.
- To regularly pray for every congregation at least once throughout the year at the youth retreats.
- To consistently follow through with the planning and communication of the organization in a faithful and efficient manner.
Goals of the Leaders:
- To be involved in the activities of the church, especially on the Lord’s Day.
- To take responsibility in the ministry of the church.
- To seek spiritual growth both individually and with other believers during the week.
- To pray regularly for the lost, and to have opportunity to show Christ in word and deed.
- To recognize the centrality of the church as we seek the Lord’s direction in all of life.